Offshore wind leader Ørsted says while it appreciates the potential of floating wind energy and expects to play a leading role in its commercialisation, it does not anticipate building floating wind projects until late in the current decade, when the technology has evolved
Speaking during a 2 June 2021 commercial markets day, Ørsted group president and chief executive Mads Nipper and chief commercial officer and deputy group chief executive Martin Neubert affirmed the company’s long-term term interest in floating wind technology, which it sees ‘complementary’ to bottom-fixed offshore wind.
However, they said the company is not currently interested in R&D projects or in early-stage pre-commercial projects of the type that a growing number of companies are now pursuing.
Mr Neubert said Ørsted has been closely following the development of floating wind without actively investing for the time being. He said the technology “absolutely has the prospect for commercialisation” but for the time being it is “still very early days” when it comes to the technology. “We are not investing in R&D or demonstration projects, but over the next 10 years we expect that floating wind will become commercialised,” he said.
Mr Neubert said he sees Ørsted’s involvement in floating wind taking place towards the end of the decade, when it can bring its “huge experience” of industrialisation, innovation and “costing-out” from the bottom-fixed market to floating wind. “And where there are certain capabilities that we don’t possess, we will find the right partners for that,” he said.
Mr Neubert and Mr Nipper said that with floating wind prospects in countries such as Scotland, the US, South Korea and Japan growing, the company had moved from “observing to engaging” in floating wind, but there remain multiple floating wind technologies that are still being developed and, he implied, no clear technological ‘winner’.
“We want to engage with relevant partners in floating wind,” Mr Nipper said. “We can bring a lot to those partnerships, combining decades of experience in the construction and operation of large-scale EPC bottom-fixed projects.
“Working with a more specialised partner in floating wind will not put us behind in any way, compared to the maturity of the technology. We are very confident that a strong position in this market is something that is very do-able,” Mr Nipper concluded.
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